Anchors away... Pro boater Tyler Speer at the helm, throttles full-ahead for Springfield Mile Dirt

Anchors away... Pro boater Tyler Speer at the helm, throttles full-ahead for Springfield Mile Dirt

TOLEDO, Ohio (August 11, 2016) - There's only one boat on the national Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series tour with ARCA parts and stickers on it, and it belongs to Woodstock, Georgia's Tyler Speer.

"Not too many people on the boat side really knew much about ARCA...they do now," Speer said. "We've been running the ARCA sticker on our boat for the last two years." (He wears an ARCA patch on his uniform too.)Tyler Speer ProBoat pose

We're not just talking stickers for show.

"We run a steering column on our Pro Mod boat that came out of an ARCA car. We also run the dry sump systems on the boats so we use our oil tank that we took out of our ARCA's been cleaned up, all dolled works pretty well for the boat."

Maybe a bit of a stretch but we're talking about a hybrid Drag Boat with ARCA stock car flavor weaved in. Either way you slice it, it's unique and a one-of-a-kind creation for sure, as is the brave soul who skips across the water at more than 200 mph in a straight quarter mile.

"We just won in the Pro Mod class two races ago in St. Angelo, Texas," continued Speer. "We just got licensed to race Top Fuel. It's the same thing as Top Fuel NHRA except on the water. We ran 230 (mph) in a thousand 3.9 seconds. The Top Fuel boats are the biggest and baddest of all the boats."

Speer, 25, for a one-day-only deal, will be trading in his boat goggles for his ARCA helmet at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Mile Dirt in Springfield for the 54th annual running of the Central Illinois 100 presented by Jive Sunday, August 21. Speer has been reunited with Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track Racing team for his ARCA hurrah on the Springfield mile.Tyler Speer in-car 2014

"Looking forward to getting back in it. Last time we ran was DuQuoin two years ago. We wanted to get things together on the Ilmor motor before we came back. Last time we ran Springfield, we had a top-10 car for sure, but we had a little handling issue coming off the corners...our SB2 (engine) was down about 150 horsepower.

"Car's at the Fast Track shop now...Andy's (Hillenburg) guys are putting the motor package in it. We got the body straightened around from our last race at DuQuoin. I'm going to the shop this there through Tuesday. We'll put our set-up on it...cross the T's, dot the I's. We have a really nice shock package going on the car...Gene Roberts from AROB Performance is doing that...he was Bill Elliott's crew chief back in the 80s when he was winning all those races.

"This will be our first race with the Ilmor. Now we feel like we can be semi-competitive, so we wanted to come back and give it a try. The dirt levels the playing field anyway. We're running the same car we've pretty-much always run in ARCA. Ran up in the top-10 at Mobile with this same car before the brakes went out."

Outside of Speer's upcoming ARCA adventure on the Springfield Mile Dirt, he's got four races left on the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series tour in 2016.

"We've got Marble Falls, Texas next, then we go to Lucas Oil's track in Wheatland, Missouri. Then we have two in Arizona, one in Parker and the other in Phoenix. We would have been able to run the ARCA race at DuQuoin, but it got switched from Labor Day Monday this year to Sunday, and we race the boat on Sunday...and we don't have a helicopter."

Speer finished seventh in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Pro Mod class in 2015, his first full season on tour. Up to third in points this year, he's only two rounds out of first with four events to go. In 2017, he plans to make the jump into the Top Fuel category full-time. The nitro-methane burning motors they run in Top Fuel boats make 8,000-10,000 horsepower, same engines that power Top Fuel NHRA dragsters down quarter mile paved drag strips.

"I think the record for Top Fuel boats is 274-something mph, and that's in a thousand feet. The Pro Mod class I race runs quarter miles, but the Top Fuel class runs a 1,000 feet...they need more room for shutdown.

"We did two Top Fuel races this year, to kind of get everything ready for next year. Right now, we're just seeing where everything's at with the boat and see where we need to go with be ready for next year. Right now, I can't wait to get back in the ARCA car at Springfield."Tyler Speer Car Shot DuQuoin 2014

Speer has nine career ARCA Racing Series starts, finishing a career-best seventh at Springfield in 2012. He also finished 12th at Springfield in 2013, 15th at DuQuoin in 2011, 19th at Mobile Int’l Speedway in 2013 and 20th at DuQuoin in 2014. 

In 2015, he shifted from behind the wheel of a stock car to the wheel of a racing boat full-time. He quickly learned to adapt to the change of scenery and became the number one qualifier in his first race. By the second and third races of the season the team was winning rounds. By end of season, he and his team, Amphibious Motorsports, had worked themselves into a solid seventh place finish in their first season in the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series. In 2016, Speer finds himself fighting for the championship.

Don Radebaugh

Follow Tyler Speer on his Facebook page at Also follow his Twitter - @speerracing and Instagram page - @tylergofastspeer. For more information about Tyler, visit his website at 

The 54th running of the 100, one of the capital city’s largest sporting events, takes center stage on the world’s fastest mile dirt track alongside the 164th annual Illinois State Fair, ongoing since 1853. 

A look at some of the Springfield Championship Stock Car Winners: Curtis Turner (’63), Don White (’66, ’67, ’72), Al Unser (’72), Jack Bowsher (’73), Roger McCluskey (’74), Ramo Stott (’76, ’77, ’80), AJ Foyt (’79), Joe Ruttman (’80), Dean Roper (’81, ’82, ’83, ’83, ’85, ’86), Bob Keselowski (’87, ’88, ’89, ’93), Bobby Bowsher (’91, ’92), Tim Steele (‘96, ’97), Ken Schrader (’98), Bill Baird (’99, ’04), Justin Allgaier (’06), Parker Kligerman (’09), Frank Kimmel (’00, ’01, ’02. ’03, ’05, ’07, ’08, ‘12), Kevin Swindell ('14) and AJ Fike ('15). 100 Schedule
Practice for the 100 is scheduled from 9:00-10:00 a.m. with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 11:15. The 54th annual Central Illinois 100 starts at 1:30 p.m. All times are local.

Live on American Sports Network
The 100 will be live on the American Sports Network and will also stream live at will feature live timing and scoring and live chat of all on-track activity and a live chat box throughout the afternoon. 

Joslynn W.

Good luck in Springfield, Tyler!

Robert Byron Mikell

Good Luck Tyler,Trucker Bob(retired)


Terri S.

Awesome article! We are so proud of all of your accomplishments on land and water. I do not think there is anything you will not race and do it well. Good Luck in Springfield.